Thursday, May 01, 2008

High-profile kidnappings

October 26, 2002: The nude and partly-eaten body of Camaldeen Ganesh, a businessman from Strathspey, East Coast Demerara, is found in the Buxton backlands.Gunmen had kidnapped him on October 16, 2002 near Bladen Hall and had demanded half a million dollars for his release.Businessman Ray Seebarran was also released by his abductors after a hefty ransom was reportedly paid.

October 2002: Businessman Bramanand Nandalall is abducted in broad daylight in Georgetown. He is eventually rescued from a house in Lamaha Gardens. In the aftermath, prison escapees Dale Moore and Mark Fraser, along with five others, are shot dead.

October, 2002: The bound and bullet-riddled body of 68-year-old farmer Jinga Motilall, who had been kidnapped by gunmen, is found in a trench in the Vigilance backlands.

December, 2002: Nineteen-year-old Sadesh Sahadeo, a carpenter of Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, disappears after telling relatives that he is going to Buxton to collect money from someone who owes him. He never returns home, and relatives reportedly receive demands for a $5M ransom. The ransom is reportedly never paid and Sahadeo has not been seen since. His remains were later found in the backlands and a DNA test verified the grim details more than a year later.

November 2003: Labourers working at the back of the Botanical Gardens unearth a human skeleton. The remains are identified as those of Adrian Etienna, a Sophia resident, who was abducted the previous month.

April 2003: Sixteen-year-old Roy Bell is kidnapped in the city. The teen’s family hands over a ransom, but on April 14, 2003, Roy Bell’s body is found on the parapet at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.

March, 2004: Twenty-seven-year-old Buxtonian, Joslyn Jones, who some police sources say was linked to a rape and robbery spree on the East Coast of Demerara, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He has not been seen since.

April 2, 2004: Two heavily-armed gunmen kidnap Iranian national Mohamed Ibrahimi shortly after he leaves the Islamic College in United Nations Place.His body, with two bullet holes in the head, is eventually found in a shallow grave off the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.In another kidnapping that year, gunmen snatched a female Critchlow Labour College student shortly after she had left the compound. The men took her to North Ruimveldt, but fled, leaving their captive behind after heavily-armed policemen tracked them down. On April 29: Three gunmen kidnap Azad Khan, a farmer from Number 73 Village, Corentyne, after robbing a liquor store proprietor from another Corentyne village. The men initially demanded $2M from Khan’s family, but eventually released him after some $200,000 is paid.Mahaica businessman Vick Singh was rescued by the Joint Services from a house in Buxton after he was held there by kidnappers for almost five days.

March 2005: Buxton resident, Mark Anthony Wilburg, was kidnapped by armed men in his village.There are reports that the 31-year-old man has been executed, as is the fate of his friend, 52-year-old deportee Roy Franklin, called ‘Kochore’, who was shot dead and dumped in Friendship Village the day after Wilburg disappeared.Wilburg has not been seen since.

May-September 2005: Sugar workers Maikhram Sawh, Sukhram Dhanay and Hardat vanish mysteriously while working in the canefields on East Coast Demerara. Despite several searches, they have never been found.Perhaps the most noteworthy case occurred when American diplomat, Steve Lesniak, was kidnapped while playing golf at the Lusignan Golf Club.He was released hours later when a ransom was delivered to his kidnappers in Buxton.But earlier, the US Government issued a federal arrest warrant for notorious bandit Shawn Brown who was eventually shot dead by security forces during a standoff in Prashad Nagar.

May, 2007: Michael Sukul, a Leonora, West Coast Demerara lumber dealer is abducted from a house at Providence, East Bank Demerara.The kidnappers demand $24M for his safe return.The ransom is not paid and Sukul is found badly beaten some days later on a Mahaica roadway. He succumbs shortly after even as he tries to tell the police who his abductors were.

June-July 2003: Lethem businessman Mohamed Khan is kidnapped while heading for Brazil.A body is later found in a shallow grave in Brazil, but it is still unclear whether the corpse is Khan’s. In the end the family members conclude that Khan is dead.

December, 2007: Shaliza Dataram and her three-year-old daughter are abducted by gunmen from their Ruimzeight, West Coast Demerara home. They are taken to a Pomeroon location but are rescued by police ranks. A man believed to be a Colombian is killed in the ensuing shootout. Also last year the son of a CARICOM official was kidnapped from his South Ruimveldt home.The police almost botched an attempt to capture one of the perpetrators during an exchange of gunfire in Sophia.The youth was subsequently released after a ransom was paid.

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